Uptick in Baghdad attacks reveals new insurgent tactics
While American and Iraqi fatalities dropped to their lowest levels in October, the US military reports an increase in the use of 'sticky' bombs in targeted assassinations.
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The attacks in eastern Baghdad, once a stronghold of Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr, suggested that some splinter factions from his militia were conducting operations despite a freeze on most of his fighters.
The New York Times reports that the bombings may be the result of sticky IEDs with mounted-on adhesive or magnets that can be stuck on to objects like cars and trucks.
One sticky IED victim was a fish seller in Al Mashtal, the paper quotes a police colonel as saying.
"I warned this fish seller only yesterday that his stand on the side of the street was not safe because anyone passing by could set an I.E.D. s blow him up, along with his customers," the police colonel said. "He didn't listen, and the poor guy lost his life in today's blast."
One of Tuesday's attacks targeted a prominent Shiite politician, Ahmed al-Barak, a former member of the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council, which helped administer the country until June 2004. He currently heads the country's property claims commission, according to a blog in the Los Angeles Times.
The attack may also have been the result of a sticky IED, and killed one civilian and injured eight others, including five of Mr. Barak's body guards, it reports.
Despite this week's violence, last month saw the lowest death toll for both US forces and Iraqis since the war began in March 2003, according to the AP. It reports that American troops recorded 13 fatalities and Iraqi authorities showed that at least 364 Iraqis were killed, including members of the country's security services.
U.S. deaths in Iraq fell in October to their lowest monthly level of the war, matching the record low of 13 fatalities suffered in July. Iraqi deaths fell to their lowest monthly levels of the year. Eight of the 13 Americans died in combat, most of them in northern Iraq where al-Qaida and other Sunni insurgent groups remain active. The U.S. military suffered 25 deaths in September and 23 in August.